It’s been a season of firsts for Greg Monroe, and none of them appear to be working in his favor, during the most important year in his career to date. He’s playing for another new coach, Maurice Cheeks, with another point guard, Brandon Jennings, and before he got a chance to adjust to playing with a player he campaigned for the Pistons to draft, Andre Drummond, the team signed Josh Smith this offseason — a player whose who’s natural position is the same one Monroe plays now, power forward. Now, he has to deal with concerns about his future in Detroit as he’s approaching restricted free agency in this coming July. After being viewed as a franchise staple for three years as the team rebounded and rebuilt, itself, outsiders see him as the piece that doesn’t fit alongside Drummond and Smith — which has led to speculation on whether he should be traded. It’s going to be tough to establish his market value this summer. Young, productive bigs usually don’t hit the market and, if they do, the price is at a premium. Draftmates DeMarcus Cousins received a max contract, and Utah’s Derrick Favors signed an extension that averages around $12.5 million annually. Monroe has historically been a better player than Favors, who averaged 9.4 points and 7.1 rebounds last season before coming on this year, averaging 13.5 points and 9.1 boards. Monroe averaged 16 points and 9.6 rebounds last year and is at 14.2 and 8.7 this season, respectively. Wednesday night, he had 18 points and nine rebounds. Monroe, 23, has admitted the talk has affected him a little. “It does, to be honest. We’re still trying to get things right, here,” he said. “To see that stuff … I just focus on what we’re doing here. I’m here. If that changes, then I’ll move forward. If it never does, I’ll focus on playing these games and trying to win these games.” To be clear, the Pistons aren’t actively shopping Monroe but, as the trade deadline approaches, more and more teams will begin to inquire about Monroe’s availability. Adjusting to new teammates and, more importantly, an undefined pecking order has led to uneven play and an uncertain unsure player on the offensive end.
Pistons' Greg Monroe struggles to find footing amid trade talk
Detroit News | Jan 23